I was taken by the headline on a post by my friend Patrick Lamb entitled “Is Voice Mail A Good Thing?” in which he refers to Ed Poll’s post “Voice Mail Is Killing You.” Personally, I think voice mail can be a good thing if properly used, but as it turns out, Ed is not talking about voice mail per se. He is talking about a machine answering your phone, instead of a live person, that results in a trip through voice mail hell. It isn’t that voice mail in and of itself is bad, but when it starts with a recording that answers your phone, I believe that will kill you.
As I mentioned in a earlier post I called “Answer Your Darn Phone,” I actually know a law firm in Sarasota, Florida that answers their phone with a recording DURING THE BUSINESS DAY. Now, isn’t that real smart lawyer marketing? Of course NOT! Patrick has a couple of good posts on the horrors of voice mail as well here and here. Both are worth a read.
As I said, voice mail can be a good thing. But first you need someone live to answer your phone, if at all possible. Then, that person should ask the caller whether they would LIKE to be put into voice mail or could they take a message. Yes, that takes more work and more contact time with a live person. However, we should not forget that we are in the “contact” (i.e., relationship building) business, and what better way than with human contact.
Now, that is smart legal marketing in my view.